Celtic Jewelry: Ancient Symbolism in Popular Fashion

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The mysterious and the mystical have always had the power to hold human beings in thrall throughout the millennia. Celtic jewelry is no exception to this, since they are an extension and a reminder of the traditions and rituals of the Celts, an ancient European people. Today, men and women of all ages wear Celtic jewelry not only for their beauty, but also for their symbolism and metaphysical connotations. Also popularly — though inaccurately — known as Claddagh jewelry, Celtic designs are appreciated for their intricacy and beauty. Numerous patterns of Celtic origin, such as the spiral and the cross, are used by jewelers in their creations. The Celtic spiral symbolizes eternity and is used abundantly in many Celtic jewelry items today. Just as popular is the Celtic cross, which pre-dates the Christian cross by about two centuries. The Celtic cross is thought to bring greater knowledge, understanding and the fortitude to deal with trials and adversities, as compared to the Christian cross, which is believed to protect the wearer from harm. Claddagh rings and bracelets are two more examples of popular Celtic jewelry items that are replete with symbolism. Rings that have the Celtic knot design symbolize eternal and undying love; this is why they are exchanged by the bride and groom in present day wedding ceremonies – to signify their fidelity and never-ending commitment to each other. Such rings and bracelets are also given to friends as an indication of loyalty. Necklaces and pendants are likewise integral parts of a Celtic jewelry collection. Depending on the wearer’s preferences, the pendant may depict the image of Celtic figures such as the ever-popular knot, spiral, Celtic cross, serpent or dragon. Such symbols have deep spiritual and religious meaning, and it is one of the main reasons why Celtic jewelry items are popular dress accessories today. A person does not have to be Irish or Scottish or to have any other Celtic connection in order to appreciate Celtic jewelry. Whether given as gifts or maintained as personal keepsakes, these unique pieces can be enjoyed just for their beauty alone. But a little awareness of their meaning, as well as their place in history and tradition add to their air of enigma and...

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Throughout the ages, men and women have used gemstones and crystals in personal ornaments and body decorations as bewitching jewelry. Wearing them as charms, talismans or amulets, they were believed to possess the power to ward off evil spirits (or attract benevolent ones), keep one safe from harm, or to find love. To this day, many people of all ages and from all walks of life believe in the magical power of certain gems and make bewitching jewelry part of their everyday attire. Take pearls, for instance. In the olden days, if a maiden wanted a man to fall in love with her, she would put pearls ground into a fine powder into a glass of wine and somehow get him to drink it. A pretty costly way to catch a man, that method. Nowadays, wearing pearls is believed to enhance one’s inner character and bring about peace and serenity. Gold is another example of bewitching jewelry. Since time immemorial, it has captured the fascination of all people, and is one of the cornerstones of the science of alchemy. Gold is used to enhance the power of other gemstones, hence its popular use as a setting. It is also believed to attract wealth and influence, because the wearer is perceived to be strong and powerful. Bewitching jewelry is not confined to fashionable purposes. The Indian warriors of old used to have swords that were adorned with garnets, secure in the belief that this would bring them luck in battle. Today, garnet jewelry presented as a gift signifies the giver’s feelings of eternal love and commitment. It can also be worn as a charm to increase sensuality and sexuality. Similarly, diamonds are said to aid in the release of sexual tension and to help the wearer enjoy a fantastic sex life. I wonder what that says about girls who treat diamonds as their best friend? Sapphires are benevolent examples of bewitching jewelry. Aside from preserving friendships and promoting loyalty, they are also believed to protect the wearer from capture. Turquoise is likewise popular as a talisman because of its alleged property of changing colors when the wearer is in peril. Plus, it is used in amulets in many cultures because it is believed to be a bringer of luck. There are many, many other beliefs regarding the use of gemstones as bewitching jewelry. They may be worn as talismans, charms, amulets or simply as fashion accessories. But for many people today, as in the ancient times, jewels are chosen not only for their beauty, but for the perceived benefits that they will bring to the wearer as...

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